Tagged: Science Fiction Writers of America

What Do You Do To Rabid Puppies? (Answer Below.)

You may have  heard about how the 2015 Hugo Awards nominations have been disrupted this year by two separate slates of nominees and their respective voting blocks.

There’s a lot of coverage on the matter, with some of the best from io9,  the Daily Dot, and George R.R. Martin (yes, Game Of Thrones fans, these people compelled GRRM to take valuable time away from writing to respond to the situation. Add that to their list of offenses.) If you don’t want to click through on everything or read our previous post, here’s what you need to know for this column:

There was a slate released by the Sad Puppies on February 1 that included a varied list of authors, many of a conservative bent, including authors that have been previously nominated for Hugo and Campbell awards.

And then, one day later, there was a slate released by Theodore Beale that he called the Rabid Puppies slate, which heavily copied the Sad Puppies list and added many items that he published through his publishing house, Castalia House, which was founded just last year.

Theodore Beale is… an interesting fellow. He came to prominence writing for WorldNetDaily, a website partially funded by his father, a convicted tax evader. Theodore Beale, who often goes by the presumptuous pseudonym Vox Day, happens to believe that marital rape is impossible, that autism causes atheism, that vaccines cause autism, that Obama’s birth certificate is forged, that there is no global warming, that feminism is failure, and on and on and on.

He is the only person to be expelled from the Science Fiction Writers of America for using an official SFWA Twitter account to link to a blog post that called SFWA member and African-American author N. K. Jemisin “an educated, but ignorant half-savage.”

And he boosted his Rapid Puppies slate by reaching out to the #Gamergate community, a group of people (the word “class” seems inappropriate here) that he has long supported, and who clearly tipped the balance in many of the Hugo categories.

In short, we find Mr. Beale to be a racist, sexist, homophobic, inflammatory, self-aggrandizing troll who who has no compunctions about burning down an entire community to exact revenge and gain his own personal amusement. His choice of the name “Rabid Puppies” is spot on, along with his logo choice that blows up the Hugo Award.

But what to do about it? More to the point, since the Hugo Awards won’t be given out until WorldCon in August, what can we do about it right now?

Ironically, Beale has given us the answer himself.

Of the unique items on the Rabid Puppies slate, nine are works that Mr. Beale had a hand in, either as a writer, editor, or publisher through his house, Castalia House, or where he previously blogged at Black Gate. (Hat tip to Mike Glyer for compiling the list.) Replying to a commenter about the quality of his works, Beale said:

No problem. I can objectively prove their superiority. Average Amazon ratings out of 5.

4.64 Sad Puppy Best Novel recommendations
4.60 Rabid Puppy Best Novel recommendations
4.46 2015 Hugo shortlist 4.46
3.90 2010-2013 Hugo shortlists

In short fiction, Amazon ratings and number of reviews

4.6 (63) One Bright Star to Guide Them (2015 finalist)
4.3 (121) Big Boys Don’t Cry (2015 finalist)
4.4 (48) Lady Astronaut of Mars (2014 winner)
4.3 (152) Equoid (2014 winner)

The Sad Puppy nominees are objectively superior as rated by Amazon.

We’d like to thank Mr. Beale for reminding us that Hugo Award nominations aren’t the only things that can be gamed…

You can game Amazon ratings as well.

Here’s a list of all of Mr. Beale’s nominees, complete with handy links to Amazon. It might be a good idea to take a look at the reviews and see which ones are helpful. If you’ve read the works, you should add your own review.




  • “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright, The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House
    UPDATE 4/14: “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright was previously published on a web site in 2013 prior to its inclusion in The Book of Feasts & Seasons in 2014, so it is not eligible for the 2015 Novelette Hugo and has been removed from the ballot.


BEST EDITOR (Short Form)



If you’d like to look at the reviews for the other nominees from Castalia House:

Oh, and to answer the title question: what do you do to rabid puppies?

You put them down.

Dennis O’Neil: Friendly Fandom Family

O'Neil Art 140109 “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.”

Groucho Marx

I didn’t know about organized comics fandom until 1964 when I interviewed Roy Thomas for a Missouri newspaper, and that was only a month or two before, under Roy’s aegis, I became a comics professional. And I wonder: if fandom had existed in, say, the 1950s in the roughly the same way it does now and if I’d had access to it, would I have joined?

I don’t know. I’ve liked comics and science fiction and related stuff since I was a kid, but I’m a margin guy, not a joiner. If you discount a rather dismal stint in the Boy Scouts, a year in Junior Achievement, and several years as a member of my high school speech club, my organizations have either been therapeutic or professional. The Academy of Comic Book Arts burst on the scene in the 1970s and then gradually faded to black to live on only in memory and as a Wikipedia entry. I joined The Writer Guild East, and finally and briefly, The Science Fiction Writers of America – those were the professional clubs and if there’s another, I’m not remembering it.

But being a fan might have been fun, so who knows?

What prompts this stumble down Memory Lane are the items I’ve been reading off my computer screen lately, not only about comics’ splashiest progeny, superheroes, but about comic books themselves – newsy tidbits that once would not have been fodder for the news maw but might not have interested anyone who was not a fan.

So: has fandom infected the masses?

Well, thanks for a lovely woman I once knew who had a connection or two to the world of the fan, I came to realize that this world offered much more than opportunities to immerse oneself in a cherished art form. It provided camaraderie and a private quasi-mythology for the initiates and a context in which to meet people who could become important to you, and that emphatically does not exclude possible mates. Finally, fandom provided an excuse to get out of the house and go places, mingle, party, and have an old-fashioned good time.

In other words, fandom offered some of the same benefits as religions, lodges, amateur sports, alumnae organizations, veterans organizations, yacht clubs… In some respects, fandom belongs among those groups and others of their ilk. It gives us a pleasurable way to heed one of evolution’s commandments: Find your tribe and belong to it.

But when millions share a fairly intense involvement with an art form and it has morphed into Big Business, can those millions be considered to be a tribe? Doesn’t tribal membership require some measure of exclusivity?

Wiser folk than I, please take note and provide an answer. Meanwhile, for those of you who want superhero fixes and don’t want to be part of a megahorde, may I suggest that you limit your involvement with the genre to comic books? There aren’t a tremendous number of comic book readers – heck, of any kind of fiction readers – around these days, so if it’s exclusivity you crave… don’t count on running into me.


FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman


2011 Nebula Awards Winners

Nebula AwardsThe 2011 Nebula Awards, presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America for excellence in the field, were presented last night in a ceremony at the Nebula Awards Weekend, held in Arlington, Virginia. Walter Jon Williams was Toastmaster, and Astronaut Michael Fincke was the keynote speaker. Connie Willis was honored with the 2011 Damon Knight Grand Master Award for her lifetime contributions and achievements in the field.



  • “The Man Who Bridged the Mist”, Kij Johnson (Asimov’s 10-11/11)
  • “With Unclean Hands”, Adam-Troy Castro (Analog 11/11)
  • “The Ice Owl”, Carolyn Ives Gilman (F&SF 11-12/11)
  • ‘‘Kiss Me Twice’’, Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s 6/11)
  • “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary”, Ken Liu (Panverse Three)
  • Silently and Very Fast, Catherynne M. Valente (WSFA)


  • ‘‘What We Found’’, Geoff Ryman (F&SF 9-10/11)
  • “Six Months, Three Days”, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com 6/8/11)
  • “The Old Equations”, Jake Kerr (Lightspeed 7/11)
  • “The Migratory Pattern of Dancers”, Katherine Sparrow (GigaNotoSaurus 7/11)
  • “Sauerkraut Station”, Ferrett Steinmetz (GigaNotoSaurus 11/11)
  • “Fields of Gold”, Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse 4)
  • “Ray of Light”, Brad R. Torgersen (Analog 12/11)

Short Story

  • “The Paper Menagerie”, Ken Liu (F&SF 3-4/11)
  • “Her Husband’s Hands”, Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed 10/11)
  • “Mama, We Are Zhenya, Your Son”, Tom Crosshill (Lightspeed 4/11)
  • “Shipbirth”, Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s 2/11)
  • “Movement”, Nancy Fulda (Asimov’s 3/11)
  • “The Axiom of Choice”, David W. Goldman (New Haven Review Winter ’11)
  • “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees”, E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld 4/11)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

Octavia Butler and John Clute received the Solstice Award. Bud Webster received the SFWA Service Award.

Congratulations to all the winners!

2011 Nebula Awards Winners Announced

2011 Nebula Awards Winners Announced

Blackout (novel)

Image via Wikipedia

The Nebula Awards® are voted on, and presented by, active members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America to honor the best in science fiction and fantasy. The awards were announced at the Nebula Awards® Banquet held at the Washington Hilton Hotel last night.

Winning Novel: [[[Blackout/All Clear]]] by Connie Willis (Spectra)

Also Nominated:
[[[The Native Star]]] by M.K. Hobson (Spectra)
[[[The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms]]] by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit UK; Orbit US)
[[[Shades of Milk and Honey]]] by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
[[[Echo]]] by Jack McDevitt (Ace)
[[[Who Fears Death]]] by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)

Winning Novella: “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window” by Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer ’10)

Also Nominated:
[[[The Alchemist]]] by Paolo Bacigalupi (Audible; Subterranean)
“Iron Shoes” by J. Kathleen Cheney (Alembical 2)
[[[The Lifecycle of Software Objects]]] by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
“The Sultan of the Clouds” by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s 9/10)
“Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance” by Paul Park (F&SF 1-2/10)

Winning Novelette: “That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone (Analog 9/10)

Also Nominated:
“Map of Seventeen” by Christopher Barzak (The Beastly Bride)
“The Jaguar House by in Shadow” by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s 7/10)
“The Fortuitous Meeting of Gerard van Oost and Oludara” by Christopher Kastensmidt (Realms of Fantasy 4/10)
“Plus or Minus” by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s 12/10)
“Pishaach” by Shweta Narayan (The Beastly Bride)
“Stone Wall Truth” by Caroline M. Yoachim (Asimov’s 2/10)

Winning Short Story (tie): “Ponies” by Kij Johnson (Tor.com 1/17/10) and “How Interesting: A Tiny Man” by Harlan Ellison (Realms of Fantasy 2/10)

Also Nominated:
“Arvies” by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed 8/10)
“I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno” by Vylar Kaftan (Lightspeed 6/10)
“The Green Book” by Amal El-Mohtar (Apex 11/1/10)
“Ghosts of New York” by Jennifer Pelland (Dark Faith)
“Conditional Love” by Felicity Shoulders (Asimov’s 1/10)

Ray Bradbury Award: [[[Inception]]]

Also Nominated:
[[[Despicable Me]]]
Doctor Who:
“Vincent and the Doctor”
[[[How to Train Your Dragon]]]
[[[Scott Pilgrim vs. the World]]]
[[[Toy Story 3]]]

Andre Norton Award: [[[I Shall Wear Midnight]]] by Terry Pratchett (Gollancz; Harper)

Also Nominated:
[[[Ship Breaker]]] by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)
[[[White Cat]]] by Holly Black (McElderry)
[[[Mockingjay]]] by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press; Scholastic UK)
[[[Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword]]] by Barry Deutsch (Amulet)
[[[The Boy from Ilysies]]] by Pearl North (Tor Teen)
[[[ A Conspiracy of Kings]]] by Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow)
[[[Behemoth]]] by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!

Twitter Updates for 2011-03-19

Twitter Updates for 2011-03-19

SFWA announces 2009 Nebula, Bradbury, and Norton Award nominees

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have announced the nominees for the 2009 Nebula Awards.

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of SFWA. The awards will be announced at the Nebula Awards Banquet
the evening of May 15 at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, just 20
minutes from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Other awards to be
presented are the Andre Norton Award for
Excellence in Science Fiction or Fantasy for Young Adults, the Bradbury
Award for excellence in screenwriting and the Solstice Award for
outstanding contribution to the field.

Congratulations to all the nominees.

Short Story




  • The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Nightshade, Sep09)
  • The Love We Share Without Knowing, Christopher Barzak (Bantam, Nov08)
  • Flesh and Fire, Laura Anne Gilman (Pocket, Oct09)
  • The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey, May09)
  • Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Tor, Sep09)
  • Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland Press, Oct09)

Bradbury Award

  • Star Trek, JJ Abrams (Paramount, May09)
  • District 9, Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (Tri-Star, Aug09)
  • Avatar, James Cameron (Fox, Dec 09)
  • Moon, Duncan Jones and Nathan Parker (Sony, Jun09)
  • Up, Bob Peterson and Pete Docter (Disney/Pixar, May09)
  • Coraline, Henry Selick (Laika/Focus Feb09)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

Nebula Nominations Announced, Plus A Comment

Nebula Nominations Announced, Plus A Comment

The Science Fiction Writers of America have announced the final ballot for the 2007 Nebula Awards. As a paid-up SFWA member, I’d like to point out two items:

► The movie adaptation of V For Vendetta has been nominated as one of best science-fiction scripts of the year.

► The original comic book on which it’s based is not considered a sufficient work to qualify the authors for membership in SFWA.

In fact, you could combine all of Alan Moore’s comics work — including Watchmen, one of Time‘s 100 Books of the 20th Century — and it wouldn’t be deemed worthwhile. Yet the movie script adapting the work is considered sufficient work to join SFWA.

Nor is this the first time this has happened. Last year, Batman Begins was up for the same award. X-Men was nominated for 2002. The comics on which they were based? Not worthy as membership credentials.

My written response to this logic would trigger a lot of web-filtering software. My preferred response would be seen as deriviative of the movie.

And folks wonder why SFWA is considered a laughing stock by so many people. Let’s not even get started on the candicacy of Andrew Burt…

(Artwork by John C. Worsley. Take a look at his site, there are some very neat illustrations there.)

SFWA abuses the DMCA

SFWA abuses the DMCA

Remember a while back when I said I supported John Scalzi over Michael Capobianco for president of SFWA, and that I might have to throw my hat into the ring as SFWA VP? Reactionary stuff like this from the new SFWA VP, Andrew Burt, is the reason why. Take it away, Cory Doctorow:

"The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to fraudulently remove numerous non-infringing works from Scribd, a site that allows the general public to share text files with one another in much the same way that Flickr allows its users to share pictures.

"Included in the takedown were: a junior high teacher’s bibliography of works that will excite children about reading sf, the back-catalog of a magazine called Ray Gun Revival, books by other authors who have never authorized SFWA to act on their behalf, such as Bruce Sterling, and my own Creative Commons-licensed novel, "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom."

"The list of works to be removed was sent by "epiracy@sfwa.org" on August 17, described as works by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg that had been uploaded without permission and were infringing on copyright. In a followup email on August 23, SFWA Vice President Andrew Burt noted that the August 17 list wasn’t "idle musing, but a DMCA notice." […]

"This implies that Robert Silverberg and the Asimov estate have asked SFWA to police their copyrights for them, but it’s important to note that many of the other authors whose work was listed in the August 17 email did not nominate SFWA to represent them. Indeed, I have told Vice President Burt on multiple occasions that he may not represent me as a rightsholder in negotiations with Amazon, and other electronic publishing venues.

"More importantly, many of the works that were listed in the takedown were written by the people who’d posted them to Scribd — these people have been maligned and harmed by SFWA, who have accused them of being copyright violators and have caused their material to be taken offline. These people made the mistake of talking about and promoting science fiction — by compiling a bibliography of good works to turn kids onto science fiction, by writing critical or personal essays that quoted science fiction novels, or by discussing science fiction. SFWA — whose business is to promote science fiction reading — has turned readers into collateral damage in a campaign to make Scribd change its upload procedures.

"Specifically, in the Aug 23 email, SFWA Vice President Andrew Burt demands that Scribd require its uploaders to swear on pain of perjury that the works they are uploading do not infringe copyright. SFWA has taken it upon itself to require legal oaths of people who want to publish any kind of thought, document, letter, jeremiad, story or rant on Scribd. Not just "pirates." Not just people writing about science fiction, or posting material by SFWA members — SFWA is asking that anyone writing anything for publication on Scribd take this oath of SFWA’s devising."

"Ironically, by sending a DMCA notice to Scribd, SFWA has perjured itself by swearing that every work on that list infringed a copyright that it represented. Since this is not the case, SFWA has exposed itself to tremendous legal liability. The DMCA grants copyright holders the power to demand the removal of works without showing any evidence that these works infringe copyright, a right that can amount to de facto censorship when exercised without due care or with malice. The courts have begun to recognize this, and there’s a burgeoning body of precedent for large judgements against careless, malicious or fraudulent DMCA notices — for example, Diebold was ordered to pay $150,000 125,000 for abusing the DMCA takedown process."

As the saying goes, read the whole thing. And the comments thread.

International Pixel-Stained Techno-Peasant Day

International Pixel-Stained Techno-Peasant Day

It all started when Dr. Howard V. Hendrix, current VP of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, delivered a rant about people giving away their works for free on the Internets,

I’m… opposed to the increasing presence in our organization of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free.  A scab is someone who works for less than union wages or on non-union terms; more broadly, a scab is someone who feathers his own nest and advances his own career by undercutting the efforts of his fellow workers to gain better pay and working conditions for all. Webscabs claim they’re just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to my mind they’re undercutting those of us who aren’t giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work.

Since more and more of SFWA is built around such electronically mediated networking and connection based venues, and more and more of our membership at least tacitly blesses the webscabs (despite the fact that they are rotting our organization from within) — given my happily retrograde opinions, I felt I was not the president who would provide SFWAns the "net time" they seemed to want at this point in the organization’s development, or who would bless the contraction of our industry toward monopoly, or who would give imprimatur to the downward spiral that is converting the noble calling of Writer into the life of Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch. 

As you would expect, this met with a certain amount of derision, head-shaking, and laughter.

First there was John Scalzi, who’s already stirring things up in SFWA with a write-in candidacy that could very well win, pointing out how well giving stuff away has worked for him. And Cory Doctorow. And Charlie Stross. And so on and so on. And adding that "It’s appalling that a standing Vice President of SFWA is calling a rather large chunk of his constituency backstabbing scum."

Then Jo Walton got into the act, declaring today to be International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, "the day when pixel-stained technopeasants everywhere are stretching and smiling and putting down their technotools to celebrate their existence by releasing their works into the wild, or at least the web." Numerous authors have contributed, and Jo has been keeping a pretty complete list, along with a quick LiveJournal community that sprang up to document the phenomenon.

Of course, the webcomics folks have been doing this sort of thing for a long time now.

I’d like to do my part as well, but  most of my work has been work-for-hire so the selection’s a bit limited. Nevertheless, here’s a story previously published in Urban Nightmares by Baen Books… a story that, irony of ironies, helped get me into SFWA in the first place.